Mary Elizabeth Rico

Rico, circa 1992

  • Missing Since 04/02/1992
  • Missing From Oceanside, California
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 10/09/1941 (78)
  • Age 50 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'7, 130 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes. Rico may use the last names Pressey and/or Rico-Webber. She has previously sustained a fracture in her rib area. She has a scar on her left side from a test tube and a scar on her right cheek.

Details of Disappearance

Rico was last seen at her home on Camelot Drive in Oceanside, California on April 2, 1992. She missed a her favorite niece's wedding nine days later.

Rico was reported missing on April 20. A neighbor went to the police said he saw her standing in the background of a television newscast ten days after she was last seen. The newscast was about groups protesting an execution, and Rico was politically active and championed liberal causes.

Authorities closed the case after the neighbor came forward with the sighting of Rico on television, but more than a month later the missing persons file was reopened because her family still hadn't heard from her. The television sighting was later discounted.

When her son came down from northern California to check Rico's home, he found the rear patio's glass door broken and a small amount of blood smeared on Rico's bed. (Authorities are unsure how long the bloodstains had been there; Rico wasn't a good housekeeper and it's possible the blood had been present for some time prior to her disappearance.) The outside telephone line had been cut.

There was nothing to indicate Rico had left of her own accord. Her car was in the garage, her suitcases were in the closet and her wallet and purse were on the bed. A bridal slip she had planned to give to her niece was laid out on the ironing table.

Rico was formerly employed as an instructional aide at Mission Elementary School, but she quit her job in 1991 because of personal problems relating to her divorce. Another aide at the school, Margaret Yossa, disappeared in February of 1994. Her skeletal remains were found in a field in September. No one has ever been charged in her death.

The two women knew each other and lived within a mile of one another. On the day they disappeared, each had been shopping at the same grocery store, Ralph's, along Oceanside Boulevard. In spite of the similarities, however, investigators have not found anything to connect the two cases.

In 1998, Oceanside police tore up the foundation of Rico's former residence, which was condemned after her disappearance. Workers had earlier found a human-sized patch of concrete under some rugs in the floor, and investigators thought Rico's remains might be buried there. It is unknown what, if any, evidence the search produced.

Rico's case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Oceanside Police Department 760-435-4911

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 10, 2008; distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.